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Magic Moments: Ryan Austin’s Top 5 Inspirations for Happily Ever After

by Happily Ever After co-director Ryan Austin

There are too many delightful and memorable Disney movie moments to even begin to rank, but here are the top five that inspired The Hideout Theatre’s latest mainstage, Happily Ever After: Improvised Disney Musicals!

5. Agrabah Merchant

This opening narration is so fun and brings the audience into the world immediately. This was something we wanted to translate to our show to help start the audience on the journey. After the crowd suggests a starting location, the hosts (myself and co-director Roy Janik) light a lantern and set it on the stage. One performer walks out into the environment suggested by the audience, picks up the lantern and joyfully addresses the crowd — setting up the tone and world we’re about to see. It’s my favorite sequence to watch!

 4. Tangled’s Complex Relationship

I loved the complicated relationship that existed between Rapunzel and Mother Gothel in Tangled. Rapunzel didn’t see that her “mother” was lying about who she was until later in the film. We wanted to make sure we honored the complicated relationships we sometimes find ourselves in. We always looked back to this story when we felt ourselves not playing as honest as we were shooting for.

3. Love at First Sight

Even though Eric is a little confused in this scene, there’s something in his heart that knows Ariel is special. The hopeless romantic element is a big part of these films and our show. Disney embraces the magical and lets us to hope for something optimistic and romantic. I know that not everyone cares for this side of Disney, but it’s a major part of the genre the same way saving the world is a part of superhero stories. Plus, the show is called Happily Ever After!

2. Beast’s Death

It’s so sad! But there are sad and dark moments in life that Disney does not shy away from showing. Granted, most of the characters who die return to life somehow, but Belle doesn’t know that’s going to happen, so we hurt for her. We made sure not to avoid the sad or scary moments in our show. But those moments will pass and make way for a happy outcome!

1. Aladdin Meets Genie

You can just tell that Robin Williams is having a blast in the recording booth playing the Genie. He’s breaking so many rules by referencing celebrities and characters that wouldn’t have existed in that time period! It’s very much akin to the playful nature of improv and how — just like Robin Williams in this scene — you end up having so much fun that a few rules get tossed out the window. I wanted to create an environment where the players felt comfortable to do that. We’re not trying to make people forget they’re watching improv. We want them to see how much fun this is!

 

I could go on, but those are my favorite moments that inspired the direction of Happily Ever After. It opens THIS SATURDAY at 8pm and runs every Saturday until August 29th! The tickets are going fast so be sure to grab yours quick! See you there!

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Getting To Know the Marathoners: Halyn Erickson

This is the seventh in a series of blog posts about each this weekend’s marathoners.  Don’t know what the marathon is? Find out here!

Halyn Erickson began watching shows at the Hideout Theatre in 2001, when she was in the 6th grade. She immediately began taking classes there as soon as she graduated high school in 2009. Since then she has been in 13 main-stage improv shows including Spirited, Austin Secrets, Process, Hurly Burly, TheatreSports, and is currently in rehearsals for the July/August 2015 Hideout main-stage show, Happily Ever After! She loves cats, illustration, chocolate chip cookies, and talking about herself in the third person. Seeing as she has been watching many of her fellow performers and friends since she was only kid, she is honored to be doing the marathon for a second time to raise money for the children’s program.

Click here to sponsor Halyn!

Why did you want to be involved in the marathon?

Well I was in the 43 Hour Marathon 3 years ago, but I was still pretty new at that time as I’d only been doing improv for a year and a half at that point. I wanted to do it again because I was really in my head last time and scared to jump out on stage, so I left wishing I had done more and tried more. Since then, I’ve been in many different shows and I’ve grown as an improvisor (and human being) so I’d like to tackle the marathon again and have more fun with it!

What excites you most about doing the marathon?

Meeting so many great performers and getting to be introduced to so many different types of shows! To me, that’s the best part of the marathon. You see how fucking brilliant this town is, and how many great shows are out there. I left feeling really inspired by all these great performers, and I can’t wait to feel that again!

What scares you most about doing the marathon?

Getting sick. I’m afraid something will happen and I won’t be able to finish it… eek!

Which format are you most excited about?

This is really hard to pick… I’m excited about The Devil and Halyn Erickson because that’s my little solo format, and I can’t wait to see what we do with 7 more people added to that…. I’m excited for Happily Ever After because IMPROVISED DISNEY MUSICAL… but I think I’m most excited for the Available Cupholders! They’re one of my favorite groups in Austin, and I deeply admire all of them. Plus that’s one of the last shows, so we’ll all be out of our minds by that point. :)

What’s the longest you’ve ever stayed awake?

Something like 48 hours for the last marathon I was in!

What’s your dumb comfort item you’ll be bringing with you?

My over-sized teddy bear I’ve had since I was 14. And headphones. I need music!

What’s your pump up song?

Oh god it’s REALLY cheesy, but Thunderstruck by AC/DC gets me SO PUMPED AND EXCITED!

Click here to sponsor Halyn!

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Getting to Know the Marathoners: Michael Joplin

This is the sixth in a series of blog posts about each this weekend’s marathoners.  Don’t know what the marathon is? Find out here!

This will be Michael Joplin’s 2nd hideout marathon. He has been doing improv in Austin for more than 15 years. He performs regularly with The Available Cupholders, The Knuckleball Now, The Known Wizards and Brain Trust. He teaches improv for Merlin Works at Zach Theatre. He is a veteran of the Austin theater scene and does film and commercial work as well. He was named Best Actor in Austin by the Austin Chronicle Readers Poll in 2014. He is delighted to lose his mind again performing with such a talented cast for a great cause.

Click here to sponsor Michael!

Why did you want to be involved in the marathon?

Because it’s a awesome challenge in every way and you get to play with everyone!!!

What excites you most about doing the marathon?

Leveling up

What scares you most about doing the marathon?

My body giving in. Recent ankle injury. I’ll be icing it a lot between shows.

Which format are you most excited about?

Some highlights from my last marathon were Franz and Dave, JTS Brown, Dickens, and Black Vault. So many awesome formats and groups.

What’s the longest you’ve ever stayed awake?

60 hours, total from the 44 hr marathon two years ago.

What’s your dumb comfort item you’ll be bringing with you?

Socks.

What’s your pump up song?

Bells of War – Wu Tang

Click here to sponsor Michael!

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